How the Neanderthals became the Basques

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henryk
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How the Neanderthals became the Basques

Post by henryk » 06 Oct 2006 20:25

An interesting hypothesis:
http://www.aoi.com.au/bcw/neanderbasque.htm
How the Neanderthals became the Basques by David Noel
What happened to the Neanderthals?

From a combination of old and new evidence, it appears that at last we have a satisfactory answer to the age-old question of 'What Happened to the Neanderthals?'. If the current reasoning is correct, their descendants are still with us, and we call them the Basques. This theory therefore simultaneously answers a second age-old question, 'What is the Origin of the Basques'?

Robert J Sawyer has recently published his book "Hominids" [2], a fictional account of an interaction between Sapiens humans and Neanderthals, but drawing on the latest scientific research about Neanderthals. This research included studies of DNA extracted from bones of Neanderthal remains. The account mentions five months of painstaking work to extract a 379-nucleotide fragment from the control region of the Neanderthal's mitochondrial DNA, followed by use of a polymerase chain reaction to reproduce millions of copies of the recovered DNA.

This was carefully sequenced and then a check made of the corresponding mitochondrial DNA from 1,600 modern humans: Native Canadians, Polynesians. Australians, Africans, Asians, and Europeans. Every one of those 1,600 people had at least 371 nucleotides out of those 379 the same; the maximum deviation was just 8 nucleotides. But the Neanderthal DNA had an average of only 352 nucleotides in common with the modern specimens; it deviated by 27 nucleotides. It was concluded that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals must have diverged from each other between 550,000 and 690,000 years ago for their DNA to be so different.
In contrast, all modern humans probably shared a common ancestor 150,000 or 200,000 years in the past. It was concluded that Neanderthals were probably a fully separate species from modern humans, not just a subspecies: Homo neanderthalensis, not Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.

Looking now at the evidence for the theory that the Basques are descended principally from Neanderthals, everything suddenly falls into place, and the supposition becomes almost self-evident. Location: The 'home country' of the Neanderthals is well known to have been western Europe. One source says that they "dominated this area for at least a quarter of a million years". Many of the best Neanderthal specimens have originated from the Iberian Peninsular. The Basque Country, lying on the western side of the Pyrenees and on the border between Spain and France, fits in neatly with this location.

The Basques are well-known to have distinctive body characteristics. Kurlansky says "Ample evidence exists that the Basques are a physically distinct group. There is a Basque type with a long straight nose, thick eyebrows, strong chin, and long earlobes" [1]. Basque skulls tend to be built on a different pattern. In the early 1880s, a researcher reported "Someone gave me a Basque body and I dissected it, and I assert that the head was not built like that of other men" [1].

These qualitative differences are indicative, but quantitative evidence, with presence or absence of features, or items being present in different numbers, has greater weight in deciding whether specimens belong to the same or different species. Powerful quantitative evidence comes from a consideration of blood factors.

Human blood is classified according to various parameters, the most important of which are ABO and Rhesus characteristics. In ABO, blood may contain the 'A' factor (giving A-group blood), the 'B' factor (B-group), both 'A' and 'B' (AB blood), or neither (O blood). The A and B factors act like antibodies, and if blood containing one or both of them is transferred to a person whose blood does not already contain them, adverse reactions occur. Group O blood contains neither antibody and can typically be transferred without reaction to any recipient. Some 55% of Basques have Group O blood, one of the highest percentages in the world [3].

Even stronger evidence comes from the Rhesus factor, discovered only in 1940. The blood of most humans (and, apparently, all other primates [6]) contains this factor, and is called Rhesus-positive or Rh+ blood. Blood lacking this factor is called Rhesus-negative. The Basques are well-known to have the highest percentage (around 33%) of Rhesus-negative blood of any human population [2], and so are regarded as the original source of this factor. In the United States, some 15% of the 'European' population are Rh-negative, while the percentage in the 'Asian' and 'Black' population is much less than this.

Possession of Rh-negative blood can be a major disadvantage for a human population. A Rh-negative woman who conceives a Rh-positive child with a Rh-positive man will typically bear her first child without special problems. However, because of intermingling of fluids between mother and foetus, the first pregnancy builds up antibodies to Rh+ blood in the woman which typically attack the blood of her subsequent Rh+ children, causing them to miscarry, be stillborn, or die shortly after birth (infant haemolytic disease [6]). This phenomenon is unknown elsewhere in nature, although it can occur with artificial crosses between species, as in mule production [6].

The scenario so far then is this. Around 600,000 years ago, in southern Europe, a species of man separated off from the ancestral line, and we call this species Homo neanderthalensis, the 'N-people'. The blood of this species contained none of the factors A, B, or Rh. Much later, possibly around 200,000 years ago in Africa, the main human line had picked up the A, B, and Rh factors (possibly from other primates, the Rhesus factor is named after the Rhesus monkey or macaque), and by then could be classed as Homo sapiens, the 'S-people'.
In competition between related species or races, antibodies in their blood are a powerful genetic advantage for those who possess them when competing against those who don't. History has many examples of European settlers who quite unintentionally won out against native populations because the latter had no antibodies against diseases such as measles which the Europeans brought with them.

In the present scenario, a woman of the N-people (Basque, Rh-) who partnered with a man of the S-people (non-Basque, Rh+) would be likely to bear no more than a single child of the partnership. 'Mixed marriages' in humans are not usually genetically disadvantageous, but in this case they would be. The effect would be a continuing reduction in the N-people population as 'mixed' couples produced only a single child, half the nominal population-maintenance rate.

There are other physical characteristics of humans which are typically associated with Rh-negative blood, but which in the present scenario would be regarded as belonging to the N-people. These include early maturity, large head and eyes, high IQ [6], or an extra vertebra (a 'tail bone' -- called a 'cauda'), lower than normal body temperature, lower than normal blood pressure, and higher mental analytical abilities [5].
Another highly distinguishing feature of the Basques is their language, which is related to no other on earth. According to [3], its ancestor was spoken in western Europe before (possibly long before) the ancestors of all other modern western European languages. This source states that the most strenuous efforts at finding other relatives for Basque have been complete failures.

People have unsuccessfully tried to connect Basque with Berber, Egyptian and other African languages, with Iberian, Pictish, Etruscan, Minoan, Sumerian, the Finno-Ugric languages, the Caucasian languages, the Semitic languages, with almost all the languages of Africa and Asia, living and dead, and even with languages of the Pacific and of North America. Basque absolutely cannot be shown to be related to any other language at all [3].

The structure of the Basque language is also very distinctive, it is said to contain only nouns, verbs, and suffixes. The language strongly defines the Basque people [8]. In the Basque Language, called Euskera, there is no word for Basque. The only word defining a member of the group is Euskaldun, or Euskera speaker. The land is called Euskal Herria -- the land of Euskera speakers. In the present scenario, Basque is the descendant of a spoken language originated by the N-people, independently of (and possibly at a much earlier time than) the languages of the S-people.

In an interesting study, Philip Lieberman [7] has looked at the mouth cavities and other presumed speech production features of Neanderthal fossils. According to his evaluation, Neanderthal people would have had difficulty in pronouncing the vowel 'ee'. This vowel is missing from normal Basque pronunciation [9].

If the present scenario is valid, then the Basques, mostly stemming from the N-people, would of course be somewhat distinct genetically. In [3] the question is asked, "Are the Basques genetically different from other Europeans"? , with the answer, "Apparently, yes. Recently the geneticist Luiga Luca Cavalli-Sforza has completed a gene map of the peoples of Europe, and he finds the Basques to be strikingly different from their neighbours. The genetic boundary between Basques and non-Basques is very sharp on the Spanish side. On the French side, the boundary is more diffuse: it shades off gradually toward the Garonne in the north. These findings are entirely in agreement with what we know of the history of the Basque language".

The social relationships of the Basques with the rest of the world have been quite unusual for a distinctive human group. While always protecting their unique and separate identity, they have also always striven to interact, cooperate with, and sometimes lead the rest of the world.

Kurlansky points out the remarkable contributions the Basques have made to world history [1]. They were the explorers who connected Europe to the other continents in the Age of Exploration, in trade they were among the first capitalists, experimenting with tariff-free international trade and monopoly breaking, and in the industrial revolution they became leading shipbuilders, steelmakers, and manufacturers.

At the same time, the Basques have always been regarded as 'different', and so inevitably subjected to discriminatory treatment and (sometimes savage) persecution, as in the Franco years [3]. In my book 'Matrix Thinking' [4] I have examined the underlying forces driving interactions between human groups, using the term SIOS, and the way groups recognize and act on differences between those inside and outside their own group.

Genetic differences are one of the most powerful recognition signals in this process, and so it cannot be unexpected that the Basques have suffered in this way. Nowadays such events are regarded in a very negative light, as pointlessly discriminatory. In the Basque case there is some rare justification for this -- a non-Basque man pairing with a Basque women might have expected to have only one child of the marriage, before recent medical procedures got round the Rhesus negative problem.

Language differences are also very powerful SIOS recognition signals, and it is interesting to look at the Basque case. The Basque language, while retaining its own distinct structure, has heavily borrowed words from other languages. Other languages have borrowed very few words from Basque, regarded as an 'inferior' language, and those that have come over often have had an uncomplimentary sense. As an example, Spanish has borrowed 'izquierdo' (meaning left, as in left-handed) from Basque, and words meaning 'left' often have a negative connotation (in English, 'gauche' and 'sinister' are from the French and Latin for 'left').

It has been suggested [5] that the Basques were the original inhabitants of Europe, and the architects of Stonehenge and similar megalithic structures. These constructions apparently used a unique system of measurement based on the number 7 (instead of 10, 12, or 60), representing a separate origin of a mathematical system.

To round out the present scenario, it is suggested that the present world population is a complex hybrid mixture of at least two human species, one classed as Homo neanderthalensis, the other (or others -- if the A and B blood factors originated from separate species) as Homo sapiens. The genes from these species are now so intermixed (as in cultivated roses) as to make the species name indeterminate.

Further genetic analysis, concentrating on the Basques, may reveal more on this. Research should cover both nuclear DNA, controlling sexually-inherited traits such as blood groups, and mitochondrial DNA, passed on unchanged from mother to child. For reasons given above, the N-people mitochondrial DNA may have now been bred out completely from modern world populations.

Perhaps the Human Genome project needs extension to cover the possible mix of origins. It would also be of interest to check whether any known Neanderthal skeletons had an extra vertebra. There is an extensive website covering recorded Neanderthal fossils [10], and the information there generally supports the suggestion that the species have merged, with later N-people more similar to the S-people than older specimens.

REFERENCES
[1] Mark Kurlansky. The Basque History of the World. Penguin Books, New York, 2001.
[2] Robert J. Sawyer. Hominids. Tor Books, 2002.
[3] FAQs About Basque and the Basques. http://www.cogs.susx.ac.uk/users/larryt ... .faqs.html.
[4] David Noel. Matrix Thinking. BFC Press, 1997. Chapter 104, Syston Boundaries and SIOS. Also at: http://www.aoi.com.au/matrix/Mat04.html.
[5] The Rh-negative Factor and 'Reptilian Traits'. http://www.reptilianagenda.com/research/r110199a.html.
[6] Blood of the Gods. http://www.geocities.com/ask_lady_lee/rhneg.html.
[7] Philip Lieberman. Eve Spoke: Human Language and Human Evolution. W W Norton, 1998.
[8] What is Basque? http://www.clan-blackstar.com/research/basque.html.
[9] Basque Pronunciation. http://www.eirelink.com/alanking/collq1 ... nunciation.
[10] Homo neanderthalensis. http://www.modernhumanorigins.com/neanderthalensis.html.

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Sewer King
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Post by Sewer King » 21 Oct 2006 13:21

Intriguing. This is the first I have ever heard of this theory. It reminds me a little of the idea that the Rom (Gypsies) are Indo-European remnants or offshoots. But I don't know if there is or could be the same kind of genetic and historical study to bear it out for them.

Twenty-six years ago a visiting priest in my church parish, in New York City's Harlem, was the only Basque I ever met. He acquainted me with the singularity of the Basque language and identity. I have since met and worked with a number of Kurds, and they remind of that Basque -- warm, hospitable mountain people with a historical awareness and pride in their fierce heritage. Although those things are likely more due to their experiences as embattled nations of people.

If they are anthropological remnants, why did the Basques come to "hold out" in the Pyrenees region in particular? Certainly the European plains north and south of the Alps were taken up by others in the grand picture. But I would have thought that the Neanderthal population might not have been that large at its height, so all odds would have been against such a survival.

This theory and all the references given here are a lot to peruse, so I'll have to look for some possibilities that they might cover. I liked Kurlansky's book Salt: A World History, so would be interested in his one about the Basques.

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henryk
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Post by henryk » 21 Oct 2006 23:20

Here is a map showing distribution of Basques, from
"Indo-European Origins in Southeast Europe by Dienekes Pontikos" http://www.geocities.com/dienekesp2/ind ... index.html)
Map 1 European language distribution at the climax of the Ice Age and the following period, 23,000 to 8,000 BC (Ba = Basque, U = Uralic, X's = unknown languages)
Note that the Finn-Uralic population area shown has been compressed in area to approximately present day Finland/Estonia.
And a map showing the Range of Neaderthals (based on fossil finds):
http://anthro.palomar.edu/homo2/images/ ... _range.gif
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Post by pitman » 21 Oct 2006 23:59

It's not a "theory," it is a fantasy. The weight of the scientific evidence suggests that cro-magnon and neandertal diverged and had very little, if any at all, genetic intermingling after that. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that any modern ethnic group has any relationship to the neandertals at all. Good grief.

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henryk
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Post by henryk » 22 Oct 2006 20:59

pitman said:
It's not a "theory," it is a fantasy. The weight of the scientific evidence suggests that cro-magnon and neandertal diverged and had very little, if any at all, genetic intermingling after that. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that any modern ethnic group has any relationship to the neandertals at all. Good grief.
You are out of date.
From the first of 292,00 sources found in a Google search, using neanderthal and genes
http://cogweb.ucla.edu/ep/Neanderthal.html
N.Y. Times April 25, 1999
Discovery Suggests Humans Are a Bit Neanderthal
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Neanderthals and modern humans not only coexisted for thousands of years long ago, as anthropologists have established, but now their little secret is out: they also cohabited.
At least that is the interpretation being made by paleontologists who have examined the 24,500-year-old skeleton of a young boy discovered recently in a shallow grave in Portugal. Bred in the boy's bones seemed to be a genetic heritage part Neanderthal, part early modern Homo sapiens. He was a hybrid, they concluded, and the first strong physical evidence of interbreeding between the groups in Europe.
"This skeleton demonstrates that early modern humans and Neanderthals are not all that different," said Dr. Erik Trinkaus, a paleoanthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis. "They intermixed, interbred and produced offspring."
Although some scientists disputed the interpretation, other scientists who study human origins said in interviews last week that the findings were intriguing, probably correct and certain to provoke debate and challenges to conventional thinking about the place of Neanderthals in human evolution.
Neanderthals and modern humans presumably were more alike than different, not a separate species or even subspecies, but two groups who viewed each other as appropriate mates.
Recent DNA research had appeared to show that the two people were unrelated and had not interbred. Neanderthals lived in Europe and western Asia from 300,000 years ago until the last of them disappeared on the Iberian peninsula about 28,000 years ago. In the prevailing theory today, modern humans arose in Africa less than 200,000 years ago and appeared in great numbers in Europe, starting about 40,000 years ago.
The new discovery could, at long last, resolve the question of what happened to the Neanderthals, the stereotypical stocky, heavy-browed "cave men." They may have merged with modern humans, called Cro-Magnons, who appear to have arrived in Europe with a superior tool culture. In that case, some Neanderthal genes survive in most Europeans and people of European descent.

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Post by pitman » 23 Oct 2006 21:11

I am afraid that I am very much up to date, although that 1999 article is not. The conclusions by Trinkaus and his collaborator about the Portugal skeleton--based only interpretation of physical characteristics and no genetic analysis--are not widely accepted (indeed, even the publication of their findings was accompanied by a very rare rebuttal in the same issue of the scientific journal in which it appeared). And mitochondrial DNA analysis suggests a wide separation between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon, with a distant common ancestor. There is no clear evidence of Neanderthal breeding with "modern man."

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Post by henryk » 24 Oct 2006 21:16

Pitman said:
And mitochondrial DNA analysis suggests a wide separation between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon, with a distant common ancestor. There is no clear evidence of Neanderthal breeding with "modern man."
There is not a consensus on Neanderthal genes in modern man. Erik Trinkaus of the University of Pennsylvania and Milford Wolpoff of the University of Michigan are two prominent scientists that support that.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... N40985.DTL
Through advances in DNA technology, paleoanthropologists have been able to extract genetic material from some of the Neanderthal bones and compare their genes with those of modern humans. The modern genes, Klein argues, "derive exclusively" from the African ancestors of modern humans, and not from Neanderthals.
That's a highly contentious point. Other anthropologists, such as Erik Trinkaus of the University of Pennsylvania and Milford Wolpoff of the University of Michigan, contend that many modern humans carry at least some genes of Neanderthals mixed in with their own.
http://www.discover.com/issues/mar-02/d ... featworks/
Did we rub out the Neanderthals? Or did we rub off on them? By Karen Wright DISCOVER Vol. 23 No. 03 | March 2002
"Of course, there are no Neanderthals left today," says Milford Wolpoff, an anthropologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "And people like to use that as a demonstration that they went extinct like the dodo birds. But that ignores the process of evolution."
Wolpoff is the most vocal advocate of the multiregionalism theory, which submits that the Cro-Magnons who left Africa got on rather well with the natives they encountered in their travels. In this view, Neanderthals weren't so much driven to extinction as seduced. "Over time, more and more genes came into Europe and mixed with Neanderthal genes," says Wolpoff. "And the proportion of Neanderthal genes became lower and lower."
Studies that use mitochondria DNA are suspect according to Karen Wright
Unfortunately, the DNA that's best preserved in ancient remains is from cellular components called mitochondria that aren't representative of the larger human genome. The mtDNA extracted from Neanderthal bones doesn't match anything in the modern world. But last year, when geneticists compared mtDNA from an early modern Australian with contemporary mtDNA, it didn't match either.
There is not yet clear evidence on either position on the theory.

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Post by Deterance » 06 Nov 2006 23:05

This is quack science!

The Basques are as fully Homo Sapians as other Europeans who are as fully Homo Sapeians as Africans, Asians etc etc. . . There are no measurable amounts of Neanderthal DNA in either Basques or any other modern Europeans.

The Basques are simply Europe's only surviving people from before the Indo European migration. The fact that their home occupies the last Neanderthal habitat is a coincidence. The second to the last Neanderthal habitat was in what is now Croatia.

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Post by Allen Milcic » 07 Nov 2006 00:17

Deterance wrote:The second to the last Neanderthal habitat was in what is now Croatia.
Thank you for mentioning this, Deterance! See this link for further information:

http://www.krapina.com/

Allen/

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Post by Kim Sung » 07 Nov 2006 04:58

Deterance wrote:The Basques are simply Europe's only surviving people from before the Indo European migration.
Really? The Basques don't look much different from the Spaniards or the French.

Anyway, the Basques have lived in northern Spain and southwestern France from time immemorial. Is it true that the Basques are 99% pure (homogeous) people?

With the exceptions of some Pacific islanders and some African tribes, I think the most homogeneous (100%) people in the world is the Koreans who have lived in the Korean peninsula for tens of thousands of years without any meaningful contacts with other peoples. Only negligible 0.03% of the entire population have foreign blood to varying degrees.

I have never seen anybody who has a foreign father or mother for my life of 32 years. If I marry a Chinese or a Japanese girl, this would be a big news in my community. If I marry a Russian girl, reporters from broadcasting companies and newspaper companies would wait to interview me in front of my home. People would be surprised and shocked by this news! :o

I think the Basques have lived in Europe just as the Koreans have in Asia. (Korea is a more extreme case. :wink: )

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Post by Deterance » 07 Nov 2006 16:35

Kim Sung wrote:
Deterance wrote:The Basques are simply Europe's only surviving people from before the Indo European migration.
Really? The Basques don't look much different from the Spaniards or the French.

Anyway, the Basques have lived in northern Spain and southwestern France from time immemorial. Is it true that the Basques are 99% pure (homogeous) people?
With the Basques, it might be more accurate to say that their language sets them apart as Europe's sole remaining pre Indo European people.
As far as bloodlines go, the Basques appear to have been mixed with their neighbors far more than Koreans have.

And now.... the most genetically isolated people on earth. These people, particulary those on North Sentinel Island, have been isolated for tens of thousands of years. They are more isolated than Koreans, but are also a far smaller population. (several thousand)
http://andamandt.nic.in/people.htm

I would not be surprised if the small tribe on North Sentinel Island is suffering from many generations of inter marriage to each other. This is never good for raising intellectuals and may also account for some of their exteme hostility.

In either case, the last unintentional trespassers were killed. The link has some photos of the Senteli warriors. If you go fishing off of Sentinel Island.... leave the beer, vodka, wine, Whiskey and Lion's Milk at home.

http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/news_negrito/2006/2006.htm

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Post by Kim Sung » 13 Nov 2006 15:29

I can understand almost all European languages to varying degrees (20%~95%) thanks to my deep interest in linguistics. Five official languages I can't understand at all are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Albanian and the Basque language. Among the five languages, the Basque language is unique. It looks like a language from a different planet.

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Post by Gespenst » 13 Nov 2006 16:13

New (?) research on the possibility of Sapiens-Neanderthal interbreeding:
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/11 ... index.html

PORTION OF TEXT WITH RACIST CONTENT REMOVED BY MODERATOR. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE THIS FORUM TO PROMOTE THESE KINDS OF VIEWS AGAIN.

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Re: Basques: Pre-Indoeuropean?

Post by Vikki » 16 Mar 2012 07:03

Note: I've changed at least the title of my post, since I found some of the previous posts in the thread both offensive and racist.
Kim Sung wrote:
Deterance wrote:The Basques are simply Europe's only surviving people from before the Indo European migration.
Really? The Basques don't look much different from the Spaniards or the French.
Really? They might look different to Spaniards or French.

As Deterence wrote, in fact, the Basques' identification as a surviving pre-Indoeuropean population isn't based on their appearance, but on their language, Euskera. It is an isolate, or "orphan", language, for which no related or predecessor languages exist. Therefore it is assumed that the Basques are a survival from prior to the Indoeuropean migrations into Europe.

As you said:
Kim Sung wrote:I can understand almost all European languages to varying degrees (20%~95%) thanks to my deep interest in linguistics. Five official languages I can't understand at all are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Albanian and the Basque language. Among the five languages, the Basque language is unique. It looks like a language from a different planet.

Even more interesting is the bloodtype and Rh distribution among the Basques in the early twentieth century:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... 7-0062.pdf

~Vikki

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Re: How the Neanderthals became the Basques

Post by Ironmachine » 16 Mar 2012 08:41

Vikki wrote:Even more interesting is the bloodtype and Rh distribution among the Basques in the early twentieth century:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... 7-0062.pdf
Not so interesting, it seems:
http://hemeroteca.abc.es/nav/Navigate.e ... 9/064.html
http://hemeroteca.abc.es/nav/Navigate.e ... 9/065.html

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